I, like most of my fellow bloggers out there, do not have the funds necessary to launch national advertising campaigns to promote a blog. Therefore, since my team and I founded Career Rocketeer over a year ago, I have constantly faced the challenge of finding new, free and/or low-cost ways to promote our content, build up our blog’s awareness and increase our readership.
Thankfully, if you are creative and determined, you can uncover countless ways to promote your efforts without breaking the bank.
Here are a number of tips for promoting your blog on a dime from leaders throughout the blogosphere:
Looks matter. If your blog looks like and sounds like everyone else’s, no one is going to care. If your blog looks like crap, it doesn’t matter that you have the best content out there, no one is going to read it. We’re a superficial society so if you’re going to spend money on anything beyond a domain name and hosting, it should be on the design of your blog. – Brandon Mendelson, BrandonMendelson.com
Don’t bury your best content. Direct readers to your most popular postings using links, a featured articles section, a resources page etc. – Chris Groscurth, BareNakedCommunication.com
Linked on LinkedIn. One totally free and effective way to promote a blog is to post blog articles to the news section of your LinkedIn groups. You can now post articles to many groups simultaneously. You can also post the URLs to articles when you answer questions on the Answers section of LinkedIn. This gives your blog exposure. – Cheryl E. Palmer, CallToCareer.com
Don’t forget to feed your social media! The best thing I ever did for my blog was to have it automatically feed into my social media profiles. The headline and link go into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Plaxo, and the full text goes into Facebook Notes. – Shel Horowitz, PrincipledProfit.com/Good-Business-Blog/
Status Updates. While this one may seem pretty obvious, it’s not that simple. Sure, you could just type your blog post’s headline into all of your social sites’ status boxes, include your shortened link and call it a day. But this might not maximize clicks. Realize that each social site is a little different (i.e. different environment, social etiquette, audience demo/psychographics). Tailoring your status/headline for each community could make a big difference. No time for that? Use Ping.fm. Plug in all your social networks and use Ping.fm to shorten your URL and launch your new post to all your sites in one step. – Brody Dorland, SomethingCreativeInc.com
Help a reporter out. If you’re not using Help A Reporter Out (HARO) at www.helpareporter.com, you’re really missing out on an outstanding free resource. On HARO, you can register for free to receive article and book topic queries from journalists, writers, bloggers and authors across multiple topic categories to which you can respond and pitch your relevant advice, experience or insights. If selected, you almost always get some press, including your name and blog/company, as well as a link back to your preferred site. This is a great (and FREE) way to get some visibility for your blog while networking with other leaders in your field. – Chris Perry, CareerRocketeer.com
Identify guest bloggers. Search out people who do things similar to what you do and ask them to be a guest blogger. They will likely tell their readers about your blog, resulting in a great promotion for you. Many bloggers will then ask you to guest blog for them. It becomes a winning situation. – Jill Nussinow, TheVeggieQueen.com
Become a guest blogger. One of the simplest strategies I’ve found to promoting a blog is to write guest posts for other blogs. The secret is to write for blogs that are just a little outside of your own niche — if you write about cooking for instance, write a guest post about cooking inexpensively for a personal finance blog. That approach will help you reach an audience beyond what your competition (the other blogs covering the same topics) sees. – Thursday R. Bram, ThursdayBram.com
Create lists. I know other bloggers get HUGE traffic out of doing lists like “Top 50 Blogs on Knitting”. Without fail, the authors of the majority of these blogs will link back to the referring site, even if that listing site has very few readers. Bloggers are vain, after all. I don’t often do stuff like that, but maybe I should. – The Cranky Product Manager, CrankyPM.com
Get listed. The best way I’ve found to promote my blog is find sites that list blogs about your topic and get on that list. For example, I got myself on WorldGolf.com’s blog list as well as TravelGolf.com’s list. It gives credibility and promotes your blog. It’s also listed on Wikio, BallHype and Golfblips. Usually all I have to do is put a link to their site, if anything at all. – Michael Wolfe, WAMGolf.com
Track how you’re doing. Take advantage of Google Analytics to track your traffic so you can see how people are finding you. If you notice that a lot of people find you via “Best used cars,” you might want to write a few posts on that to keep the momentum going. – Jon Stroz, Accella.net
Get creative with bartering. If you offer a service and want some ad space, offer to trade your service for a free ad. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer who wants to get featured on a bride’s blog, offer a discount or a free shoot in exchange for exposure. – Mandy Boyle, SolidCactus.com
Latch onto a star! Here’s what I mean: For more than two years, I’ve blogged for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a top-twenty American news site (40 million page views per month). Except for my time, my costs are zero. The domain is professional with ads galore, so there’s plenty of opportunity and it’s all over Google. – Roberta Beach Jacobson, Blog.SeattlePI.com/CatLady
Promote your blog offline. Instead of Twitter, use the local trade fair, or networking event (again, focus on making friends over networking). Make business cards, but don’t “sell” people on anything. Your business cards are a reminder for people to get in contact with you, not a desperate attempt to push your business/service on them. Talk to as many people as possible. Make friends not just “network”. – Zach Davis, ZRDavis.com
I want to give special thanks to all of the bloggers who contributed their blog marketing insights! If you have some tips or other free or low-cost ways to promote a blog, please share them with us!
Chris Perry, MBA is a Gen Y brand and marketing generator, a career search and personal branding expert and the founder of Career Rocketeer, Launchpad, Blogaristo and more.